AKRON, Ohio - Behind one event win and five top-five finishes on the track, including several personal-best times, the Miami University women's track and field team finished strong Saturday on the second and final day of the Akron Invitational, hosted by the University of Akron at Stile Athletics Field House.
The meet provided a talented field for the RedHawks that included No. 11 Georgia, Pittsburgh and West Virginia, as well as Mid-American Conference foes Bowling Green, Kent State and the host Zips. Several other schools also competed.
Redshirt senior Alexandra Roberts (Hilliard, Ohio) won the gold division (top tier) shot put with a heave of 14.67m/48-1.75, which is the ninth-best throw in school history, eight of which Roberts owns. She finished first in the shot put for the second straight meet and third time this year. In the blue division shot put, junior Tori Paterra (Elizabeth, Pa.) grabbed third with a throw of 13.02m/42-8.75 while redshirt senior Samantha Gable (Greenfield, Ind.) was fourth in the blue division weight throw with a toss of 16.96m/55-7.75.
In other field action, redshirt junior Ashley Zaper (Whitehouse, Ohio) tied for fourth in the gold division high jump with West Virginia's Hannah Stone, as both cleared 1.64m/5-4.5. Freshman Jess Baker (Aurora, Ohio) was seventh after topping the bar at 1.58m/5-2.25, which matches her personal best. Zaper also placed fourth in the long jump gold division with a leap of 5.44m/17-10.25.
Senior Layne Baggett (Pittsburgh, Pa.) continued to perform well in the 60m hurdles as she qualified for the finals in fourth, crossing in 8.59 in the prelims. She then finished third in the 60m hurdles finals in 8.51, which ties with herself for the fifth-fastest time in school history. She was the top collegiate finisher behind a pair of unattached hurdlers.
Freshman Kala Allen (East Amherst, N.Y.) had a strong showing in the sprints as she crossed in fourth in the gold division 400m dash in a personal-best 56.19, which ranks her fifth in school history. She was second among collegiate runners, however, behind only Georgia's Shaunae Miller. Allen also took seventh in the gold division 200m dash in a personal-best 24.88, which also moves her up to fifth in school history in that event. She was again behind Miller and two other Bulldog sprinters, as well as Pittsburgh and Kent State runners. Both of her times were season bests among all RedHawks.
Junior Erica Howes (Fairfax, Va.) claimed runner-up in the 3000m gold division run while she was the top collegiate finisher, clocking a personal-best 9:56.47, smashing her previous best by 14 seconds. She was two-hundredths of a second behind an unattached runner and 14 seconds ahead of the rest of the field. Freshman Laura Bess (Brownsburg, Ind.) was the top finisher among three RedHawks in the gold division mile run as she clocked 4:58.23 to take sixth.
In the gold division 800m run, sophomore Taylor Wickware (Geneva, Ill.) captured fourth in a personal-best 2:13.25 while she already ranked fifth all-time at Miami. Freshman Megan Beaver (Brecksville, Ohio) was right behind in sixth in a personal-best 2:15.26 as Georgia claimed the top two spots in the race. In the 800m blue division run, junior Erin Riley (Avon Lake, Ohio) crossed in third in a season-best 2:18.67.
For a recap of Miami's results on Friday at the Akron Invitational, which included sweeping the top three spots in the gold division 5000m run and the top two spots in the blue division pole vault, click here.
The RedHawks return to action next weekend, Feb. 8-9, at the Hoosier Hills Invitational, hosted by Indiana University at Gladstein Fieldhouse, as Miami makes a second trip to Bloomington, Ind. this season. The 'Hawks competed in IU's Gladstein Invitational Jan. 18-19.